Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Heritage Lives: Remembering Thanksgiving Day Classics

By Terry Hughes

Fall was here and so too was the battle to see who was the best on the gridiron in this holiday event between the Welland High Tigers and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. But this was not always the case because each school came from two different places.

When examining the city’s 1958 Centennial booklet, the section called Sports Highlights from 1862-1958 notes the fact that Welland High had won back-to-back championships in their division in COSSA in 1953 and 1954 against Peterborough. At that time Notre Dame was a private school and was playing against smaller schools in their division which led to a championship win for them in 1954.

Change was in the wind, however, as more students representing the post-war baby boom would swell enrolments requiring major expansion at both schools. The school spirit that had propelled WHVS to win the first Tribune Basketball Tournament, 1955 (Welland High 56, Thorold Linwell 48) as well as on the gridiron had waned because of construction issues and requiring half days off followed by staggered shifts. Enrolment at Notre Dame had blossomed and put the school on a more even plain as far as fielding a competitive team was concerned.

Fr. Bates: ‘secret weapon’

But one of the secret weapons that the Irish had was a priest and teacher (later principal), Rev. A.J. Bates CSC. He hosted pep rallies before each football game that really got the student body fired up – the excitement level still remembered by many to this day. I believe that both schools had moved into a new division called SOSSA at that time. So the stage was set for not only regular season games but the idea of playing a special game on Thanksgiving and in a new venue, Burgar Park, for a time. And probably one of the best games played there was the so-called “Mud Bowl” in the pouring rain.

The yearbook photo, above, shows a 1959 game held at the WHVS campus with the Fighting Irish on the move toward a touchdown. The Irish won that year’s Thanksgiving Day game, 12-8 while the Tigers won the regular season matchup, 25-7.

Over the years, the Thanksgiving Day game became a symbol of the rivalry that existed between the two schools.

Editor’s note: For your added enjoyment this Thanksgiving weekend, you can watch a video of the 1965 Thanksgiving Day clash between the Tigers and Irish. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFdTMSyLfas

Next Column:  A Tight Squeeze 

(Terry Hughes is a Wellander who is passionate about heritage, history and model railroading. In 1959, he was a Grade 11-B student at Notre Dame. His opinion column, Heritage Lives, appears on the blog once or twice monthly.)

Mayor Frank Campion: A Thanksgiving Message For 2020

In these dark pandemic times, ‘I appreciate the sacrifices you have made’

On behalf of Welland City Council, I extend my sincere best wishes to the citizens of Welland as we celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a time to reflect and express gratitude for all the blessings in our lives – a tradition which has defined the Thanksgiving Holiday for centuries.

Mayor Frank Campion/Supplied photo

I am grateful to all citizens of Welland who have helped reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. It hasn’t been easy and I appreciate the sacrifices you have made to protect yourselves, your families and our community.

A special thank you to all the First Responders and Health Professionals who contribute to the public safety, health and wellbeing of our community. We are truly grateful for all you do.

This Thanksgiving weekend, I remind you to please continue to follow the advice of health experts as you celebrate Thanksgiving. Officials and medical experts are emphasizing that the large, extended family gatherings are not a good idea this year. You can celebrate Thanksgiving with members of your own household while connecting with others virtually. If you are including someone outside your household, spending time outdoors is safer.

Please continue to comply with the guidelines of physical distancing, frequent hand washing, wearing a mask or face covering when required, staying home if displaying symptoms or having been in close contact with cases of COVID-19. A two-metre distance must be maintained at all gatherings – indoor gatherings of 10 people and 25 people for outdoor gatherings.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend to you and your family.

Sincerely, Mayor Frank Campion


Barky’s Billboard

Please support this deserving community event

Barky’s Billboard is a recurring feature on the blog./ Supplied graphic.

The 46th Annual Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival has gone VIRTUAL!
Enjoy a unique online shopping experience with more than 80 artisans, crafters, food vendors and local farmers from Sept 12 to Oct. 7th. While this year’s Festival will look a lot different, festival-goers can still travel back in time to the 1800s during Thanksgiving Weekend at Ball’s Falls, with Immersive Heritage Tours and Interactive Demonstrations.

Fore more information and to reserve your heritage tour, visit thanksgivingfestival.ca.